Salted Caramel Bars make a great addition to any holiday dessert buffet.
A layer of rich, buttery salted caramel topping on a light, flaky and oh so delicious shortbread crust – how in the world could THAT be wrong?
Honestly though, I’ve had a little bit of an addiction to making caramel lately – specifically salted caramel – and these bars are the perfect way to share my addiction with others.
These salted caramel bars make a wonderful dessert to take to a friend’s house throughout the holidays or to an office party or even to a church potluck. Just be ready with the recipe, because everytime I’ve taken these bars somewhere, I’ve always been asked multiple times how to make them and have sent email after email with the recipe for these babies.
Luckily, from here on out I can simply reply, “Yes, they are on the blog.”
To keep the salted caramel firm, I store the bars in the refrigerator until about 20 minutes before I plan to serve them. If you have to leave them out longer, it won’t hurt anything, the salted caramel will just be a much softer texture. You can decide how you like them best, but I wouldn’t advise eating them straight out of the refrigerator. The caramel will be a bit too sticky at that point until they’ve warmed a bit.
Of course, if you are really desperate and they’ve been in the refrigerator, I have been known to pop one into the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Also, I’ve found that they are more easily eaten if you cut them into smaller bars, about 2-inches. If you plan to serve larger bars, I recommend serving them with a fork to eat similar to my caramel pie.
Here’s the recipe for my salted caramel bars. I hope you love them as much as we do!
Salted Caramel Bars Recipe
- Shortbread Crust
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- Make shortbread crust according to directions. Set aside to cool as you prepare the caramel.
- Salted Caramel Layer
- To prepare the caramel, mix all ingredients through half and half in a heavy bottomed, 3-4 quart saucepan.
- Cook over low to medium heat until the caramel has reached a warm golden brown color and has reached the 250º F on a candy thermometer, or the hard ball stage.
- Remove from the heat, add vanilla extract, and beat until creamy with a wooden spoon.
- Pour onto prepared shortbread crust and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic and place into the refrigerator for 1-3 hours to overnight to allow caramel to firm.
- Store in the refrigerator to keep the caramel firm, recommended.
- Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before ready to serve.